A Budget Analysis, and a Call for more Funds for the LPC
Mayor Bloomberg released his proposed Fiscal Year 2008 (July 1, 2007-June 30, 2008) budget on Thursday, January 25th. Overall, the budget was considered to be an easy one to swallow, featuring tax cuts, increased baseline funding for parks and cultural institutions (a first, as far as
anyone can remember) and improved transparency in the Capital Budget.
As for the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), Mayor Bloomberg proposed a $4.3 Million budget, with 57 staff positions. This is $100,000 more than the current $4.2 Million budget that LPC is working under and 2 positions more than the 55 positions currently funded. While we certainly thank the Mayor for increasing LPC’s budget rather than cutting it, we believe that his proposed increase is just a fraction of what is needed (in fact, just 1/10th).
Why? The Mayor’s proposed 2008 budget for LPC is $1 million (19 %) less than what their budget would be, in 1991 constant dollars. In laymans terms, this means that while LPC’s budget has increased, its actual buying power has shrunk by $1 Million since 1991. In addition, LPC had 70 staff members in 1991, 13 more the Mayor’s proposal for 2008. The Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation believes that LPC needs a budget and
staff equal to the 1991 number, in order to increase the pace of landmark designation, increase the enforcement of the law, and help the Agency better serve the public. There is already evidence that last year’s budget and staff increase has had a positive effect on LPC’s work output. Imagine what another $1 Million could do!
Mayor Bloomberg wants NYC to prepare for 2030, and one million new New Yorkers, we feel a good first step would be to increase the the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s budget to its 1991 buying power.That’s not so much to ask, is it?
So, what can you do to help increase LPC’s budget and staff?
1. First, email us at Citizens@savelpc.org and give us permission to list your organization as a supporter of the $1 Million increase. Over the next few days, we will begin a running list of supporting organizations on our site. The more we have, the better!
2. Write a letter to Mayor Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Thank them for increasing LPC’s budget, but ask them to increase it by $1 Million. Why is this important? Take a look at the Mission Statement (www.savelpc.org/about.html) and Problem Statement
(www.savelpc.org/problem.html) on our website. In addition, feel free to provide them with evidence of your own. After all, you are the experts in our city’s neighborhoods. If you do write a letter, be sure to provide us with a copy, so that we can keep track of our campaign progress.
In the near future, CECPP will be providing additional ways that members can support this advocacy effort, such as writing and delivering testimony to the City Council and asking your local Community Board for support. Stay Tuned!